In eSports, few recent names have garnered as much attention as Joel ‘joel’ Holmlund, a rising star facing shocking allegations.
Widely regarded as one of Sweden’s premier talents, boasting an impressive 1.12 HLTV rating in 2023, the 18-year-old has been caught in the crosshairs of an unfolding investigation by the eSports Integrity Commission (ESIC). The allegations? He’s betting against his very own team, GODSENT.
The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) has taken action to suspend Mr. Joel “Joel” Holmlund, a professional esports player, formerly of team Godsent, from all ESIC Member events in light of evidence available corroborating allegations of his multiple breaches of the ESIC… pic.twitter.com/NqJgOlkEOX
— ESIC (@ESIC_Official) September 20, 2023
ESIC, in its recent communication, revealed that ‘joel’ stands provisionally suspended. This dramatic decision was reached after a deep-dive investigation unearthed bets placed by the young player on games he actively participated in, shockingly including wagers against GODSENT, his team.
Further adding to the situation’s intensity, Valve had previously made its stance crystal clear in a 2015 post titled ‘Unnecessary Risks.’ Their message to pro players was uncomplicated: steer clear of betting on CS:GO matches, associating with major CS:GO bettors, or sharing inside information.
The web of evidence
The investigation surrounding ‘joel’ is far from superficial. ESIC has cast a broad net, focusing on areas such as:
- Digital Tracks: Scrutinizing IP addresses, browser details, and device IDs.
- Betting Patterns: Observing peculiarities in betting activities, mainly during matches joel played and his in-game performance.
- Social Media Links: Probing connections between betting accounts and various online platforms.
Reacting vehemently against the ESIC’s suspension on X/Twitter, ‘joel’ dubbed the entire episode an “injustice”. Standing firm on his innocence, he proclaimed that the allegations pinned on him were baseless.
The 30th of August I recieved a notice of charge from ESIC, I instantly jumped on a call with Ian Smith, head of ESIC. They then decided no further actions would be taken at that point of time. After my qualifcation to BLAST and several tweets from different induviduals I believe…
— joel (@joelholmlund) September 20, 2023
As he prepares for his next move, he signaled his intent to cooperate fully with ESIC, hinting at a comprehensive response by Oct. 6 with his legal counsel. He said;“Today they decided to make a public statement; that is extreme injustice. They are accusing me of several stuff I didn’t do, and that’s fairly obvious. Still, if I come out publicly with them, I am breaking the confidentiality agreement.”
“I am still willing to cooperate with ESIC and will give my final answer around Oct. 6 together with my lawyer,” he said.
ESIC & Victoria police collaboration
These allegations don’t just reverberate in the corridors of eSports fanatics. It signifies a larger movement against corruption in the eSports arena. Earlier this year, ESIC unveiled a Letter of Arrangement with the Victoria Police.
This mutual agreement targets the plague of match-fixing that threatens the integrity of eSports. Under this alliance, ESIC and Victoria Police are slated to share critical intel on suspicious betting activities, launching a dual front against potential fraudsters.
Chris Gilbert, Victoria Police’s intelligence and covert support command assistant commissioner, emphasized the international nature of eSports and the complexities of handling match-fixing.
The partnership with ESIC aims to provide instant alerts, allowing swift investigations. Gilbert also highlighted the vulnerable position of younger eSports athletes, hinting at their susceptibility to unsavory approaches due to their often minimal prize winnings.
As the eSports community braces for ESIC’s final statement on ‘joel’, many ponder the integrity of the games they love. With high stakes, a global audience, and young talents involved, the implications of this investigation extend far beyond one individual. It’s a stark reminder of the continuous vigilance required to keep the eSports world clean, competitive, and credible.
The future for ‘joel’ remains to be determined. What is clear, however, is the unwavering commitment from bodies like ESIC and Victoria Police to preserve the sanctity of eSports competitions.